General Tso chicken: the Chinese dish they don’t eat in China

  • There is no documentation that Tso, in fact, Zuo Zongtang, military leader during the Qing dynasty, had a predilection for chicken

In Chinese restaurants in the US, it is common to find a bird with a martial surname on the menu: General Tso’s chicken. He is not the only military man who gives a name to a dish: Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington and Commander-in-Chief of the British Army, baptizes a sirloin.

The ladder also sets food firm. In price, the cut of beef is above the massive and affordable poultry meat, although not necessarily in enjoyment. There are also prejudices regarding its conception: General Tso Chicken is a popular and simple-run restaurant specialty while the puff pastry that contains the rosy bovid requires high school handling, although there is always the shortcut of the supermarket dough and a resolution close to the dung.

There is no documentation that Tso actually Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885), A military leader during the Qing Dynasty and born north of Changsha, Hunan Province (let’s keep the data), he had a predilection for chicken or Wellington drooling over sirloin.

Why then does the generalate name a common soldier meal? This is a story of travels, appropriations, misunderstandings and failures that are perhaps successes. Although a Chinese cook, Peng Chang-kuei (1919-2016), born in Changsha, Hunan province (let’s keep the data), was the one who pulled it out of his sleeve, It is an unknown dish in China, or little implanting, as explained in the documentary ‘The search for general Tso’ (2014), which follows the winged footprint of Shanghai, New York and the US Midwest.

The following is confusing, like so many stories related to the origin of what we eat. Attention to the date because it is a very recent preparation.

In 1955, Peng, who had fled to Taiwan with the nationalists of the ¡general! Chiang Kai-shek, prepared it during a banquet for the Admiral! Arthur W. Radford, during the armed conflict that faced the Republic of China (Taiwan) with the People’s Republic of China.

As in so many other improbable stories, Peng had run out of ideas for the cleaver and the wok It was lit up with a chicken marinated with soy and yolk, a red sauce with tomato paste and a pile of chili peppers. Spicy food from & mldr; Hunan, homeland of Peng and Tso.

Let’s review: a Chinese chef improvises a chicken in Taiwan for an official feast, arrives in New York in a sweet version and quickly becomes a Chinese-American recipe

The second part is the interesting one because Peng owned a restaurant in Taipei, Taiwan, where he served that hellish chicken, which they tried in the early 70s, and separately, David Keh and TT Wang, Chinese cooks settled in New York, who they took the customers of their establishments with a dose of sugar to cajole the American palate.

Let’s review: a Chinese chef improvises a chicken in Taiwan for an official feast, although some authors consider it to be the reformulation of a Hungarian recipe; gives him a name (apparently he called him Zuo Zongtang and it was the imitators / transformers who renamed him Tso, which corresponds to the Latin spelling), the pollastre arrives in New York in a sweetened version, It quickly gets incorporated into Chinese-American menus and if you order it in China they don’t know what it is.

The best of the comic the final section: in 1973, or 1974? Peng tried his luck in New York with the Peng’s establishment, located on 44th Street, near the United Nations.

Choose your own adventure. Version 1: New Yorkers preferred the copy to the original because they found it fiery.

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Version 2: it prospered, with such influential clients as Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who adopted it as a favorite snack. This is not a narrative with certainties.

In the obituary of Peng’s death in 2016, the magazine Time published that General Chicken Tso, or Zuo Zongtang, first made it for the ¡general! MacArtur in 1950. Is that clear? It is clear that Peng was the stripes and revered the military, who perhaps did not expect to be killed. under the friendly fire of chili peppers.

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